Helping others to access technology to overcome ageism

Maureen Shaw at Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre supporting the Digital Mentor training program.

COFFS Harbour Neighbourhood Centre (CHNC) has chosen Ageism Awareness Day on 7 October to launch a new program aimed at ensuring everyone can access important services online.

A Digital Mentors training program will be held at CHNC beginning Wednesday, 26 October.

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Research shows that face-to-face support from a digitally able guide is the most effective method of helping someone build their own digital skills and confidence.

This enables the tutor to focus on aspects that are most needed by the person they are supporting.

“Anyone can train as a digital mentor and that’s where we’re calling out to the community to find out more and give it a go,” Donna Hunt, Lead Digital Mentor Trainer with CHNC told News Of The Area.

“Try out teaching your digital skills to others seeking to begin their online learning.

“While not all community members who struggle with digital literacy are seniors, we recognise that for many seniors this is not a skill they have grown up with and they may not necessarily have needed to acquire these skills in a work setting.”

There can be for a variety of reasons people may be being left behind technologically, including lack of internet access, prohibitive cost of connection and devices or lack of interest.

“Even those who do have access to the technology and connection may not have the skills to use them effectively.”

The internet has transformed almost every aspect of life.

We use it to socialise, shop, work, pay bills and learn online.

“Digital mentors can help their learners to have positive and meaningful digital experiences that enrich their lives.

“This could be connecting with a friend through social media or joining an online group related to their favourite hobby.

“It might be keeping up to date with the latest news, learning new skills or addressing specific questions or concerns.”

Many digital mentors help people to experience ‘light bulb’ moments when they master digital skills that could change their lives.

This could be something as simple as being able to download an exercise app to track their steps, or video calling a loved one for the first time.

“You don’t need to have refined or advanced skills to help someone else, just a willingness to learn a few teaching tips and tricks and understand some strategies that can help the person you are helping to learn,” said Donna.

You can play a part in upskilling the 2.5 million Australians who are not online, and for whom the many benefits of being connected remain out of reach.

You can phone the Centre on 6648 3694 or book in for the training at


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